Monday, February 3, 2014

Book 110: Blue Ginger | Beef and Shiitake Stew with Garlic Mashers

by Ming Tsai

I became familiar with Ming Tsai, from watching the Food Network station which I watched on a daily basis, until they went rogue on me.

Now a days, it seems they are either traveling from restaurant to restaurant, having showdowns, food wars, or crazy competitions. Not my thing. I prefer to watch and learn from the cooks working their magic in their kitchens, like Ming's show, East Meets West, which unfortunately no longer airs. I cannot remember the last time I tuned into the FN. I used to love that show.

I had Ming's book on my counter for a week or so, several pages bookmarked from long ago. I finally decided on this recipe for it simplicity, and the fact I actually had the hard to find ingredients (fermented black beans and dark soy sauce  - not available at your local Safeway) on hand, thanks to being a member of the Wok Wednesdays cooking group, where we are stir-frying our way through Grace Young's book, Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge.

Another plus to making this recipe, I was able to use up the heavy cream I had, being I forgot to add it to this recipe.

This was an easy dinner to throw together - and perfect timing. We have been having beautiful spring-like weather this winter (in a midst of a drought, unfortunately) until this weekend. The temps have dropped considerably - we actually had snow on our local mountain, which is only 3800+ ft. in elevation.

Ming even notes in the book that this is "hearty cold-weather fare". 

The recipe calls for hanger or skirt steak. I had flank steak in the freezer and used that. Flank steak does not have as much fat as skirt steak. This, I am sure is why my meat had a bit of a "chew" to it. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was tough, just chewier than I expected it to be. I also added about a third of a red bell pepper I had sitting in the fridge.


After browning the meat, and sautéing the vegetables you add enough water to cover, and cook for about two hours, until the meat is tender. Next time I would add less water, I like my stews to be more gravy-like, this was a tad on the watery side.


This does make for great cold-weather comfort food, and was just as tasty, if not more so, the next day when I had it for lunch. 

You will find the recipe on page 156 of Blue Ginger, or click here to be directed to the Food Network site.

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